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What makes great dialogue: conversations with depth and delight

Thinking about facilitation. I ran a session at Sydney Facilitators Network last month. The question was “What nurtures great dialogue?” We ran a ‘fish bowl’ role play with seven people conducting a dialogue, the rest of us paying close attention to the dynamics. The instruction to observers was to stay more alive to process than to the content. When the role play finished I asked for two observers to debrief each di
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Solutions Focus

I stood and up and invited my colleague to walk out of the room. She looked surprised and a bit anxious, but complied. We were practicing a role play on solutions-focused coaching in a workshop run by UK consultants Paul Jackson and Janine Waldman. I was determined to shift things, break up the fussiness of the conversation, and happy to try something different. We walked in circles outside the training room. Then my
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Design thinking approach to business models

I was impressed by a new way of thinking about business design this this weekend.  We were working with a talented nineteen year old musician and producer, who had invented an audio program using movement to shape music. It could be used to enhance concert events, dance parties, DJ programs. Jack wrote the program for a university course, and his friends were wowed by the results. He was interested in whether it was
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Hunter on the prowl for National Broadband Network

The Hunter is on the prowl. By taking the lead in developing a skills strategy, the region is unique in its efforts to engage with the NBN and make the most of the largest infrastructure project since the Snowy Mountains Scheme. More than double the number of expected participants attended the meeting to identify the skills needed and opportunities related to the rollout of the NBN. By bringing together more than 60
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Duck River Idols

In September 2009, make stuff happen won the job to create a business network that could support the sustainability efforts of small and medium sized businesses across the lower Duck River industrial precincts that straddle Parramatta and Auburn City Councils in western Sydney. Small and medium sized businesses were perceived to be lacking the support larger businesses could attract through other government or indust
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Simple frames for deeper conversations

I helped facilitate a community conversation on sustainable communities last week. It was in a cafe at night. The process was a light touch combination of world cafe and Theory U. World cafe puts different questions on different tables, allows people to choose their topic, then rotate to another topic and a new table group. It is very interactive, and encourages warm networking among strangers. The piece from Theory
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The dollars in biodiversity

It is important to cut through the simple oppositionism of economy versus ecology. Pavan Sukhdev, head of the UNEP’s Green Economy Initiative, argues that the greening of economies is a new engine for growth, employment and the reduction of persistent poverty. He has put numbers on it. It is possible to demonstrate that a wetlands outside Kampala is creating more value in water treatment for the city, than conv
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Making a hobby of communication

For the past couple of weeks I have attended a training session in Marshall Rosenberg’s non-violent communication skills. I was attracted by the idea of doing it every Monday night for five weeks, in the next suburb. Like going off to a community choir, but instead of doing scales we practice fundamental communication skills. I had a good time the first night, feeling quite moved by an exercise (“empathy poker”) wher
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Finding what works and why

Knowing is not the same as doing. That’s Rule Number 18 from Alan M. Webber’s recent book, Rules of Thumb.[1] Webber was the founding editor/owner of Fast Company, the hip business magazine he established after a long stint at the much more staid Harvard Business Review. Rules of Thumb lists 52 business insights, all written in Webber’s engaging journalistic style and peppered with great stories about how to make sen
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The two sides of collaboration

collaboration: act of working jointly act of cooperating traitorously with an enemy that is occupying your country I once worked with a woman who refused to use the word collaboration or collaborator. The Nazi occupation of European countries during the second world war relied on the venality and fear of local ‘collaborators’ and, for my work colleague, this invocation of the word had contaminated it forever. While c
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